Yashaswini Singh Deswal let out a sigh of relief after her efforts finally came to fruition in the form of a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 22-year-old secured India’s ninth Olympic quota after clinching the top prize in the women’s 10m air pistol shooting.
In an authoritative and self-assuring display, the former junior world champion shot 236.7 in the eight-woman final to defeat Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych, the No. 1 shooter.
“I feel very happy after winning the medal and quota place. My hard work finally bore fruit. For me, this medal is a reassurance that I was on the right track. It came at the right time. I needed this boost.” Yashaswini told PTI at a function in New Delhi.
“My actual journey has now started after winning the medal and it will be as important as winning the quota. Whatever is the competition, every shot will be important and I’ll have to produce my absolute best,” she said.
After an aggregate of 582 top the qualifications in Rio, the Jakarta Asian Games bronze medallist, however, wants to set the bar even higher as the Olympics approaches.
“Technically, I don’t have to make any major adjustment but I have to improve my shot timing in each tournament and of course work on physical conditioning. I will have to work on the little things which will help me in my journey to the Olympics. Now the trials are going on and then there is Asian Championship and World Finals,” she said.
Although her role model is the 2016 Khel Ratna award recipient Jitu Rai, she also gains inspiration from her colleagues such as Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary.
“In the Indian team, Jitu Rai is my all-time favourite. I really idolise him. I sometimes speak to him and seek his advice. He has achieved so much only on the basis of his hard work and he has seen ups and downs in life. It is very motivating, so I really look up to him. The Indian team is giving good competition to each other. Each player boosts the performance of others. All the youngsters are so motivated and it is inspiring,” Yashaswini said.
Yashaswini, who also won a silver medal partnering Abhishek Verma in mixed 10m air pistol, opened up about her inspiration to chase shooting as her profession.
“My uncle was in the Army. He was on the verge of taking VRS and we had gone to his unit and I had fired with army guns but it was very different and I was amused by the experience. I later went to Commonwealth Games in 2010 and there I met my coach,” Yashaswini added.